We have an existing wood burning fireplace on the main floor of our house where a gas insert was previously installed (see pics below). The fireplace previously had a brick surround and a hearth which has now been removed as part of the renos. We intend to create a new stone surround around the fireplace.
The dimensions of the fireplace are listed below. Please note the back of the fireplace curves inward from bottom to the top. So the depth of the fireplace at the top is less than what it is at the bottom.
Fireplace measurements (inches): Depth 17 3/8 Depth at top 10 3/4 Depth at bottom 17 1/4 Width (widest part) 32 5/16 Width at top 28 7/8 Width at back top 24 3/4 Width at back bottom 25 3/4 Height of opening 34 5/16 Height of base from floor 10 1/2
We are looking at options for a replacement fireplace that can be installed in this space ithout having to completely rebuild the fireplace. We prefer a linear look. We can do either a gas fireplace insert or a zero clearance fireplace.
Questions for the forum experts: I believe we need to create framing around the fireplace to support the new stone surround. What material can this framing be made out of? Some vendors told us it has to be steel framing with cement board while others said regular lumber framing and drywall is ok.
It is not clear if we can increase the opening height to accommodate a zero clearance fireplace by removing the bottom rows of fire bricks/masonry. One vendor told us that the sides of the firebox are structural and removing the firebox floor could impact the sides and the structural integrity of the entire wall
Thanks in advance. We are based in Canada.